The Canada and Ontario governments will invest in safety and efficiency upgrades for abattoirs, and also international marketing for Ontario beef
By Jackie Clark
The provincial and federal governments will be dedicating up to $2 million in Canadian Agricultural Parnership cost-share funding to improve food safety, animal welfare, and biosecurity at provincially licensed abattoirs, a Feb. 19 statement announced.
The meat industry has been calling for investment in abattoirs to help them upgrade and expand their facilities.
“For the abattoir sector in general, (the funding is) really going to help with improving processes. It’s a first step in helping them expand their capacities,” Franco Naccarato, executive director of Meat and Poultry Ontario, told Farms.com.
The government has been “making it easier for abattoirs to apply to the program and that’s a key thing that really makes it more accessible to small and medium enterprises,” he said.
Though the announcement from the government was centred around the beef and cattle industry, this funding is a win for all commodities, Naccarato said.
“I think the province recognizes that a lot of our provincial abattoirs are multi-species and the motivator behind this is primarily because of some of the challenges that the cattle sector specifically has endured,” he explained.
“All of the commodities have challenges with capacity, it’s just been more evident in the past year with issues that have arisen in the cattle sector,” he added.
Funding for increasing capacity won’t be provided through the Partnership, however.
The program guide for this cost-share application intake explicitly lists projects “that are for the purpose of expansion” as not eligible for funding.
Other projects that are excluded are those that are outside of Ontario, or that are for the purpose of supporting normal business operation or regulation compliance costs.
Eligible participants include “provincial abattoirs wishing to enhance food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity through equipment purchases and structural upgrades, for slaughter and category 1 processing activities. NOTE: Meat plants with federally licensed activities and provincially licensed freestanding meat plants are not eligible to apply,” according to the program guide.
Examples of fundable projects include “capital upgrades for enhanced food safety, improvements in the safe handling and housing of animals, and new equipment for safe and efficient animal-hides disposal,” the statement said.
The project intake period will be open from Feb. 19 to April 30 and more information, including how to access a project guide, can be found here.
In addition to the cost-share funding for abattoirs, “the governments are also investing up to $292,600 under the Places to Grow initiative to help the Beef Farmers of Ontario with marketing efforts to access emerging markets in Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and the European Union,” the statement said.
This investment in marketing will be helpful in conjunction with improving abattoirs, Naccarato said.
“If you increase your supply, you’re going to need to increase your demand at the same time,” he explained. “It’s going to help the whole value chain with expansions.”
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